In preparation for John’s appointment at the gym, we go shopping for my workout clothes. The gym is situated on the periphery of the neighborhood from which I derive my income, so it’s very important that I look nice, serious…professional. It’s up to Melanie, my Sports Basement personal shopper, to translate that to spandex. As with everything pertaining to my triceps, this visit must be short and productive.
Me: “So, Melanie, I need workout clothes. This is all very foreign to me. I’m depending on you. And to assist you, I brought MyHusbandTheEngineer who will scrutinize each piece of clothing, determine its country of origin, assess the quality of materials, check for defects, then shrug his shoulders and say, ‘You choose,’ but we can use him as a runner.”
John makes a few remarks, looks impatient and leaves, freeing Melanie and me to get down to business.
Melanie: “Give me an idea of style. Do you want shorts, knee length?”
I’m flattered that she would suggest either of those, but then she can’t actually see the legs under my street clothes.
Me: “No, I’d have to shave my legs, and we’re only two weeks into spring. Do you have frumpy?”
Melanie just stares; frumpy is not a word in her vocabulary. She’s more familiar with tight, revealing, and hot. But, trying to accommodate me with every iota of resolve in her sweet, muscular little body, she moves on.
“What’s your favorite color?” she asks.
“Fuchsia, but I’d rather blend in more. Do you have gym-floor gray? You know, so they can’t tell where I end and the floor begins? And I need it long—below my fanny.”
She is at a loss for helpful words.
“Melanie, sweetheart, I don’t want to look cool. I want to look invisible. Someday you’ll understand.
If the elliptical cross-trainer doesn’t kill you first.”
So I direct her to just bring something to me.
Back she comes with 20 sets of pants and tops that by virtue of her being able to contain them all in her petite arm span will clearly fail to sufficiently cover my body. She plops them down on the bench and leans against the wall, apparently exhausted from the exertion.
“Do you want V-neck or crew?” she asks.
Can’t this be simple? We haven’t even gotten to the gym and I’m worn out.
“Which will reveal less of me?”
While Melanie is racking her brain for the answer to this question, MyHusbandTheEngineer pops his head in.
“Here, you need a gym bag.”
“Why?” I remind him that serious workout gear only sets higher expectations in other people’s minds. And a brown paper bag will hold everything I could possibly need—car keys.
“You’ll look homeless,” he says.
And so, with the guidance of my two advisers, I choose two articles of clothing whose weight is in inverse proportion to their cost but that will fit into a brown paper bag I can take to the gym.